Marshall County Sheriff Matt Hassel told the County Council this week he has been doing a lot of research and will be bringing information to the 2023 budget hearings.  He said he’s been in town and county government for over 40 years and you can’t compete with the private sector as far as wages go.  The sheriff said they do sometimes have benefits that the public sector doesn’t have.

Sheriff Hassel said, “I don’t understand how WES (Waggoner, Irwin & Sheeley) does their research.  I disagree with it 100% because it is not accurate.”  He said the county is not keeping up with other government entities.  His example was a Plymouth police officer, and a Bremen police officer is paid 14% higher than his police officer.  Hassel said that’s why his officers are leaving. 

The sheriff was on the County Council agenda to talk about the hours for Court Security.  He said the Courthouse is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the entire time.  They don’t close for lunch.  His security officers have a one-hour unpaid lunch so for two hours a day there is only one security officer on duty in the court building.  With only one officer on duty, that person must be at the front door handling the people coming into the building through the x-ray machine and the metal detector. 

Hassel’s request to make the security officers the same as the turnkey/dispatchers who work lunch in when they can, they are paid to be there for the whole 8-hour shift.

The sheriff said, “Moving it to the 37½ hours from the 35 hours is like a person driving down the road, and all of a sudden it gets 2 flat tires.  Well, the 37 ½ hours allows you to fix one flat but you left the other one still flat.”

His proposal, for safety reasons, is to have the security officers go to a 40-hour work week.  This will maintain two-person coverage in the courthouse at all times. 

After some discussion from the County Council, members unanimously approved moving all three security officers to a 40-hour work week.